• Introduction to the Lifestyle
  •  
  • Destinations
  •  
  • Travel and Accommodation
     
    – Getting the Best Flights and Sourcing Top Accommodation
    Our recommendations and tips on finding a hotel/ rental home plus the best way to book your flights.
    [Read and Review – 40+ minutes]

    Rental Negotiations Cheat Sheet
    How you can you save money when organising your short/ long term rental.
    [Read – 20+ minutes]

    – Air Miles Exposed!
    Coming Soon! The ultimate low down on how you can fly for free.

    The definitive guide to your first Home Exchange
    Looking to stay somewhere with all your home comforts but in an exciting new destination? Can’t afford hotels or renting when you have a mortgage to pay at home? Like the idea of living like a local? Need reliable internet and somewhere to set up your laptop? Home exchange could offer the perfect solution to keeping a base at home whilst travelling the world. Here we provide the complete guide to getting started with your first home exchange.
    [Read and Review – 1 hr + ]

    Rental and Home Exchange do’s and don’ts
    We made the mistakes so you don’t have to!
    [Read – 10 minutes]

    Keep your Costs down Check List
    An essential check-list for keeping the costs down while away.
    [Read – 20 minutes]
  •  
  • Accountability
  •  
  • Summary
  •  
  • Your Video


Accommodation & Flights

 

Organising your trip

 
This can be time consuming and stressful; you want to make sure you are making the right choices in order to find something that will suit all your needs, without costing the earth. Here are our recommendations of tips for booking your accommodation and flights.

The sites we have listed here are the ones we use and are recommended through our personal experience. We did not want to bombard you with 100’s of booking options so have kept it down to a few options. If there are other sites you use or can recommend do let us know.
 

Hotels & Rentals

 
When it comes to accommodation it can be helpful to work out a list of your priorities.

  • Do you want something which will just be a bed for the night or somewhere you can feel at home in?
  • Do you want to be somewhere quiet to allow you to work or a lively atmosphere?
  • Do you want outdoor space or city living? Stunning views or accessibility to amenities?
  • Activities for kids or an established ex-pat community? Shared facilities or self-contained?


The more thought you give to what you’re looking for the easier it will be for you to reject and select from all the possible options.
 
Short term holiday rentals
These can cover anything from a week to three months and include most types of accommodation you can think of, houses, villas, apartments etc. You may be able to negotiate a deal on longer stays as some property types will still charge short terms rates despite your willingness to commit for longer.
 
 
 
Good places to look are:


 
www.vrbo.com
This site is ‘vacation rentals by owner’- so cuts out the middle man. The standard of accommodation is usually pretty high as many of the properties are US owned. The downside of this is that prices which you might expect to be lower to reflect the local economy may be higher than you expected. The positive is that you will get the amenities you will need like fast internet (in countries where this would otherwise be a luxury!) There can be hundreds of options for you to browse on this site so you will need to set aside some time.

 


 
www.ownersdirect.co.uk
Similar to VBRO this is a smaller site, although more European focused. You may also find better prices on here and prices quoted in currency other than dollars. The owners update their profiles more regularly with low season offers.

 


 
www.homeaway.com
Like VRBO this site is a good for sourcing accommodation in slightly more obscure places eg Papua New Guinea instead of Spain! Still very US focused though.

 


 
www.tripadvisor.com
Great website to get reviews of all types of accommodation including rentals, never spend too long on this site as it will start to feel that no accommodation is right for you!

 


 
www.roomorama.com
We haven’t used this website but it has been recommended by several people. It covers short term accommodation in apartments for hotel prices or less.

 
 
Long terms rentals
It’s worth looking at the above sites for longer term rentals as well, some properties will show monthly rental rates which will include a discount. If no monthly rental rate is listed it is still worth emailing especially if it is off season, you will be surprised what offers you might get. See our Negation Cheat sheet for more information.
 
 
 
Hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs.
When it comes to hotels it can be useful to have a few screens open and do lots of cross referencing!

 

 
The main site we use is-
http://hotels.skyscanner.com
 
We have found that Skyscanner consistently finds the cheapest deals from all over the internet, this has to be the first place you look for hotels
 

 
Sites such as are also good to cross reference:
www.laterooms.com
www.expedia.com
 
These offer hotels worldwide and often offer big discounts from the rack rates. These sites will give you an idea of what is available but might not always have the best price.
A good website we have used many times for hotels in Asia is –
 


http://hotels.asiawebdirect.com/

 
This offers over 50% discounts and further discounts if you are booking at the last minute. We recently saved over £100 for a 3 nights stay in Phuket, Thailand through booking on this website.
 
These ‘hotel search engine sites’ are worth checking, although the savings on there aren’t always quite a substantial as you may think. If you do find an option that you are interested it is always worth checking on the accommodations direct site as they often offer further reduced rates. We have booked many hotels both home and abroad and found the direct site offers the biggest discount.

Always check on tripadvisor too, there will always be some negative and some positive perspectives but it should give you a flavour of what stands out ie clean sheets, noisy, great pool, rude staff etc.
 
 
 
Hostels

The Lonely Planet Travel Guides are always a good reference for hostels and cheaper accommodation. Alternatively check out:
 

 
www.Hostels.com

 
 
 
Recommended links:
An alternative for short term rental options are services which allows you to stay in homes whilst the owner is either present or absent. The links below are to either a video or an explanation of how the website works.
 

http://www.airbnb.com/info/how_it_works


http://www.istopover.com/about_us


http://www.housetrip.com/en/about/housetrip


http://www.crashpadder.com/how-do-homestays-work


http://www.couchsurfing.org/

 
 
 
Resource for business travellers, includes flight and accommodation info:

A new concept site which is still in its ‘beta’ phase but looks like an interesting concept (watch the video): http://www.trippy.com

If you want to see ‘real’ review footage instead of glossy hotel features: http://www.hotelvideoreviews.com/

 
 
 

Flights – Streamlining your booking process

 
When it comes to booking your flights, often if comes down to just cost. Here are some other considerations –

  • Do you want to fly direct or are you happy to have a stop over?
  • Are their specific airlines (such as low cost airlines) you want to avoid?
  • Are you a member of a specific air miles scheme?
  • Do you want a return flight or a multi-destination flight (such as a round the world flight or Asia explorer)?


 

We always use Skyscanner as our first website to check, there are plenty of other flight search sites available but we have found this to be the quickest and easiest to use.
 


http://www.skyscanner.net/

 
This will simply show you what flight options there are, and if you can fly direct. Skyscanner also gives you a rough idea of the price the flight will cost.
 
From there check the individual websites Skyscanner recommends and also check the price direct with the airline.
 
The further away from your destination date you book the cheaper the flight, also be flexible with your dates to reduce costs.
 
This video runs through the process we go through whenever we book a flight (this example saves over $200 per person from just going with the first flight you find)-


 
 
Low-cost Airlines

There are many ‘low-cost’ airlines that operate throughout the world, they specialize on getting you to your destination as cheaply as possible. To do this they cut out any form of luxury such as free meals and drinks, leg room etc. A full list of the current ‘low cost’ airlines can be found here –

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_low-cost_airlines

This is also a great site if you are lookin for flights within Europe http://www.low-cost-airline-guide.com/, it shows you which low cost airlines fly to your destination. It also gives you destination ideas from your local airport.
 
The main European airlines for low cost travel (that we have flown with) are:
 


http://www.easyjet.com/

 


http://www.ryanair.com/en

 
 
Another option is charter flights, there are run by the major holiday companies and are usually part of a package holiday. You can also book seats direct with the company but always book via their website and not your local travel agent as they may charge you a booking fee. We have found charter flights are more expensive than low cost airlines but cheaper than scheduled flights i.e. BA, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic etc
 
 
 
Flight booking summary

  • 1. Use Skyscanner to check the prices of your chosen flight and which airlines fly there (Here is a ‘how to use’ skyscanner video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FS6HEjskbXs)
  • 2. Compare the price on Skyscanner with that of kayak.com and momondo.com.
  • 3. Click the flexible button to see if the price decreases if the dates are changed, you can also choose the month option which shows prices for that flight over that entire month.
  • 4. Compare the prices given here with Expedia.co.uk and ebookers.co.uk
  • 5. If there is a flight that is standing out as suiting you the most, go to that airline’s website to see if the price is cheaper. Airlines like BA also have a booking system that shows the prices over a month so can choose the best departure date for the price.
  • 6. When you do book that flight, first sign up to the airline airmiles scheme. With a flight to Australia you can earn two free flights.


 
 
 
If you are not finding the flight that suits you or the prices are higher than you would like, try this option-
 

http://www.trailfinders.com/
 

http://www.statravel.co.uk/
 

http://www.flightcentre.com
 
These companies will find you the best flight possible based on your travel plan. They may even suggest a Round the World Ticket as this could save you some money. This type of flight will often give you a number of stopovers and a lower flight cost than single flights.
 
For instance, if you wanted to visit Bangkok, Singapore then Australia, instead of booking these flights individually you may be advised to select a round the world ticket. This could mean that for the same cost (or often less) you could also go via New Zealand, Fiji and LA (as you returned home the other direction round the world!). In our experience we wanted to fly to Sydney via Hong Kong; after visiting a Trailfinders branch we booked a flight London-> Hong-Kong->Sydney->Los Angeles->London. This actually saved us money and added to our trip as we were able to unexpectedly arrange a visit with some friends in LA.
 
Examples of these types of flights can be found here http://www.statravel.co.uk/top-routes, these type of flights can be for any destination and any airline. A round the world flight can be as cheap as £749 per person.
 
 
 
Recommended articles and links:
 
Budget Airlines in Asia
http://travelhappy.info/thailand/budget-flights-from-thailand-to-laos-cambodia-vietnam-and-more/
 
http://travelhappy.info/thailand/new-budget-flights-from-bangkok-to-hanoi-and-ho-chi-minh-city-saigon/
 
Types of Airline tickets

http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/what-i-talk-about-when-i-talk-about-travel/

13 Ways to Simplify International Travel

http://zenhabits.net/13-ways-to-simplify-international-travel/

 
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